By politics.co.uk staff
Ed Miliband's party has surrendered its lead in the polls for the first time in nearly a year.
A survey of 1,000 UK adults by ComRes for the Independent newspaper, conducted between September 23rd and September 25th, put the Conservatives on 37%.
Despite slipping one point David Cameron and co managed to move ahead of the Labour party, who lost two percentage points to fall back to 36%.
That represents a real setback for Labour, who had maintained a healthy lead for much of the last year.
The poll will underline fears about Mr Miliband's leadership potential. Just 24% of those polled said they thought the leader of the opposition was a credible prime minister in waiting, with 57% disagreeing.
Shadow chancellor Ed Balls fared little better, with only 27% thinking he would make a better chancellor in No 11 than George Osborne.
Voters are unlikely to respond to his efforts to distance himself from New Labour's record in government, especially on the economy. Over half disagreed with the statement that they would be more likely to vote for Labour if the party apologised for its mistakes in managing the economy.
This week's party conference in Liverpool is seeing tensions between the Labour leadership and that of the unions, who are uncomfortable with Mr Miliband's refusal to support those planning to strike against changes to public sector pensions.
The issue does not appear to be critical to voters, today's poll suggests. Forty-eight per cent agreed that trade unions enjoy too much influence with the party, but 37% disagreed.
The Liberal Democrats only gained one of these three points after their party conference speech in Birmingham last week, moving up to 12%. Other parties took the remaining 15%.